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WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Once you have determined that your child has a true food allergy, MOCHA recommends that you take several steps right away:

  • Find a highly qualified pediatric allergist.  Some helpful links:
  • Consider joining Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). This national organization formed as a merger of The Food Allergy Initiative (FAI) and Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), and is an invaluable source of information.  Join MOCHA!  Please call us if you are struggling with your situation. 
  • Contact MedicAlert for a medical identification bracelet.
  • Get trained with the auto-injector of your choice.  Either the Epi-Pen or Auvi-Q.
  • Create a Food Allergy Emergency Care Plan and distribute it to all those who provide care for your child. 
  • Read ALL food and body product labels at least 3 times before giving to your child.  Everything that goes into your child’s mouth or touches their body should be scrutinized.  Read once at the grocery store before purchasing the item.  Read again at home before placing the item in your pantry or refrigerator.  Then read again before serving your child.  You can never be too careful.
  • Gather as much information as possible about your child’s particular allergy.  There are many food allergy books to help you get started.
  • Begin educating your family, friends, and community about your situation.
  • MOST IMPORTANT:  Always check with your own doctor about information you receive on the internet.   If it sounds too good to be true, it very well may not be true.

FOOD ALLERGY FACTS

What is a food allergy? 
A true food allergy is an immunological reaction to a certain food. It is not the same as food intolerance, such as lactose intolerance, which does not involve the immune system. Food allergies occur in up to five percent of children and two percent of adults.

What foods can cause allergic reactions? 
Any food can cause an allergic reaction, but 90 percent of all food allergies are caused by the following foods: wheat, eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, shell fish and seeds.

What are the symptoms of an allergic reaction? 
Symptoms can range from mild to life-threatening (anaphylaxis) and may include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, hives, swelling, itching or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or mouth, eczema, itching or tightness in the throat, difficulty breathing, and wheezing.

What is anaphylaxis? 
Anaphylaxis, or anaphylactic shock, is a severe allergic reaction that often includes swelling of the face, mouth, and throat and can lead to a serious drop in blood pressure or unconsciousness. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated immediately with epinephrine. Anaphylaxis can be caused by a minute amount of food or food traces coming in contact with the allergic person.

Can food allergies be cured or outgrown?
There is no cure for food allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. While some children outgrow their allergies, peanut, tree nut, fish, and shell fish allergies are currently considered to be life-long.

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